Connecting kids to nature is vital for both our children and our planet. Instilling a love for nature encourages kids to explore the great outdoors, go on adventures, and live active lives. In turn, they will learn to respect and care for Mother Earth and her creatures.
Here is a list of nature games for kids to play both outdoors and indoors.
7 Nature Games for Kids to Play Outside
Of course, the best place to learn about nature is out in nature. Outside activities for kids engage all the senses: touch, sight, smell, hearing, and sometimes even taste. Some games are informational, while others are based on interaction. Either way, these nature games for kids will help them enjoy the outdoors and connect with their place in this world.
There are all kinds of rock art kits you can purchase at craft stores. From painting to stickers, your kids can decorate rocks they’ve collected on a hike or from the backyard. But rock art doesn’t need to require a lot of supplies. Your kids can simply collect rocks and arrange them in interesting designs. Or, they can stack them as little landmarks in your yard or on a trail.
Wreaths are becoming popular for every season. And what better way to celebrate a new season than to create a wreathe using natural materials? Your kids can collect leaves, twigs, flowers, feathers, and more. With a few supplies from the craft or hardware store, you can combine the elements to make a beautiful wreathe. It is an excellent activity for teaching kids about the different seasons and how weather affects plants and animals.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Great for all ages, a nature scavenger hunt keeps your kids’ bodies and minds engaged. They have to think about where they are most likely to find each object, which increases their understanding of different habitats. You can find nature scavenger hunt ideas online for each age group. Or, you can create your own with your knowledge of the local area.
Bug or Bird Bingo
Young kids especially love bug bingo. Perhaps relating to being small in a big world gets them excited about finding creatures smaller than themselves. It is also an easy backyard activity since, as we all know, bugs are everywhere! Bird bingo may be a little more challenging but can work well on a hike or even a road trip. You can create your own bingo card, purchase a kit, or find free printables online.
Build a Habitat Challenge
This nature game for kids challenges their understanding of different creatures and their habitats. The game is quite simple: you name a creature, and your kids try to create a habitat for them. First, give your kids a plastic container (even Tupperware will suffice). Then, send them out to gather things they would find in the creature’s habitat. If old enough, your kids can arrange the items to make a miniature habitat, or you can help as needed. A frog habitat is a great starter challenge!
Birds can make the most amazing nests! You can give your child a whole new appreciation of nests by challenging them to create one themselves. They can gather their own materials or you can supply them. Best of all, you can use virtually anything! Birds in nature use grass, mud, twigs, leaves, bark, and even trash they find. It can be a lesson on bird nests as well as the importance of recycling!
Makeshift Shelter Challenge
This nature game for kids teaches them to respect animals’ homes. Once they learn how difficult it is to build a simple shelter, they’ll think twice about destroying one. This is an excellent lesson on deforestation and encroaching on animal’s natural habitats.
8 Nature Games for Kids to Play Inside
As nice as it is to play outside, there are lots of great games to teach kids about nature while indoors. These nature games for kids are both educational and fun! They are an excellent way to connect with nature from the comfort of your home.
Animal Planet Explorer Opoly Jr. (Ages 6+)
This adaptation of Monopoly takes kids around the world. They will learn amazing facts on their journey about different animals and their habitats. Adults will enjoy playing just as much, with a refreshing twist on a game that’s typically about capitalism.
Camp (Ages 4+)
Want to get your kids excited about an upcoming camping trip? This board game is all about the great outdoors and is designed to grow with the player. Players move to higher-level questions as they get better at the game. It comes with 400 questions, 99 fun facts, and a decoder. Any game with a decoder must be good, right?!
Animal Tracks (Ages 5+)
Kids get three games in one with Animal Tracks! Kids learn to match animals to their tracks while paying Concentration, Bingo, and Guess the Tracks games with 80 colorful cards. Unlike many kid games, Animal Tracks uses real animal photography instead of animal caricatures. Created by The Young Scientists Club, this game is designed to spark interest in future scientific endeavors.
Planet (Ages 8+)
Planet is a unique 3D tabletop board game for science and nature enthusiasts. A world literally takes shape in a player’s hand as they take on the role of Super Beings. Their mission: create perfect worlds with ideal conditions for wildlife to flourish. Planet doesn’t underestimate kids’ intelligence but is still easy for the whole family to play. It has won several awards, including MENSA and ASTRA awards.
Ecosystem (Ages 14+)
A similar concept to Planet, Ecosystem teaches players about ecology in a fun way! Players build ecosystems of wild animals and earn rewards for sustainability and diversity. Its difficulty level is directed at teenagers, which is a great way to keep family game night alive. Gameplay is only about 20 minutes long, so teenage excuses won’t work!
Puppy Trek (Ages 5+)
Puppy Trek, on the other hand, is great for all ages. Players have to get their puppies home through a wilderness, and animal friends help along the way. There’s a little something for everyone with reading, spelling, story-telling, frog hops, Charades, rock-paper-scissors, and more! This game will certainly get your kids moving, even if they are indoors.
Wildcraft: An Herbal Adventure Game (Ages 4-8)
No reading required! Wildcraft uses clear illustrations and matching icons to teach kids about different plants. Players learn what different plants look like and what they can be used for. Kids learn about several ecosystems and 25 edible and medicinal plants. Wildcraft is eco-consciously manufactured, too, with 100% recycled and recyclable materials. Not to mention non-toxic inks and varnishes.
Trekking the National Parks (Ages 10+)
As the winner of the MENSA and Parent’s Choice Award, this is one of the best nature games for kids to play. Trekking the National Parks is a great way to learn about and experience national parks. You’ll also find yourself reminiscing about any family trips you’ve taken to these wonders of the world. You and your kids will be inspired to hit the road once again!
Tell Us Your Favorite!
We’d love to hear your recommendations for nature games for kids. Join us on Facebook or Instagram and share your favorites! Plus, enjoy daily posts about parenting, nature & wildlife conservation, and fun family activities. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for new Elliot’s Adventures books and special giveaways!